The 7 Best Wineries in Napa Valley: Standouts Worth Visiting

An hour north of San Francisco, the gem of California’s wine industry, Napa Valley, lies between fertile hillsides. Napa is home to around 475 wineries, many of which are family-owned. The compact grape-growing region farms more than 40 grape varieties over 16 distinct American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). This production density is made possible by its Mediterranean climate, soil diversity, and sweeping elevation range and makes selecting the best wineries in Napa Valley a difficult task.

With so many wineries welcoming the public for wine tastings, it’s tricky figuring out where to stop if you’ve got limited time on your itinerary. When making your short list of tasting experiences, think about your ideal ambiance: an English country estate, an outing on horseback, or an afternoon filled with family-friendly games. The type of wine you want is important, too: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Petit Verdot to name a few.

A glass of red wine being swirled in a glass on a sunny day.
Napa Valley gained its reputation as a premier wine-growing region following the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” wine tasting event.

Insider’s Tips: The cost of wine-tasting experiences varies greatly. Also, it’s highly advised to make reservations for tasting and tours.

Shadybrook Estate, Napa

Get acquainted with Shadybrook Estate’s historic Rapp Ranch on horseback. Take a trail ride through Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards, enjoying the estate’s surrounding hillsides. After the 30-minute ride, settle into the patio garden lounge overlooking the vineyard and enjoy a charcuterie board with a pairing of four estate wines.

Horseback riding is one of the ways you can enjoy the scenery at Shadybrook Estate. Photo credit: Audreywilson

Castello di Amorosa, Calistoga

Have your own fairy-tale experience traipsing over a drawbridge and wandering through the vaulted halls of Castello di Amorosa. The historically accurate 13th-century Tuscan castle winery recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Winemaker Dario Sattui built the castle in honor of his Italian heritage and because of his passion for medieval architecture.

Thirty acres of vineyard grow around the castle, producing grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec. The estate crafts top-scoring Italian-style wines and non-alcoholic muscat grape juice. Reservations to access the castle for tours and wine tasting are required. Experience five delicious wines, including reserve labels, while exploring the castle’s charms.

Sattui commissioned much of the castle at Castello di Amorosa using hand-crafting and old world construction techniques. Photo credit: Oleg Alexandrov

Larson Family Winery, Sonoma

After repurposing Northern California’s largest rodeo grounds through the mid-1900s, Larson Family Winery now farms 150 acres of estate vineyards. Growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and other grape varieties, the winery is proud of its grape-to-glass process—growing grapes and transforming them into wine onsite. All of their vineyards are Certified Sustainable, with twenty-five acres devoted to Certified Organic grapes.

Larson Family Winery welcomes families and dogs to play in the sunny courtyard with views of the surrounding vineyards. They offer several activities that you can enjoy while tasting, like Bocce ball or cornhole. The winery’s Three Lab Cab label honors the resident Labrador retrievers you’re sure to befriend.

Domaine Carneros, Napa

Napa Valley winery Domaine Carneros bubbles with elegance and is one of the best wineries in Napa Valley to try sparkling wine. The 18th-century French-inspired château is the ultimate backdrop for feeling like royalty. The winery crafts sparkling wines and pinot noir from grapes harvested on its four hundred acres.

Try a flight of Domaine Carneros’s sparkling or still wines perched atop the stately terrace overlooking the grounds. Enjoy vineyard-covered rolling hills and colorful manicured garden views while the château’s many water fountains trickle. Knowledgeable wine professionals are on hand to regale visitors about the wines and food pairings on offer such as charcuterie, local cheeses, and caviar.

The Domaine Carneros château is the centerpiece of their scenic estate. Photo credit: DimiTalen

Robert Biale Vineyards, Napa

A little taste of history is in every glass of Robert Biale Vineyards wine. The Napa Valley winery values being stewards of the land and farming grapes from historic vines, many over a hundred years old. The winery’s winemaking roots took hold in the 1940s when grape farmer Aldo Biale sold homemade zinfandel, referred to as “Black Chicken” on the neighborhood party line. The post-prohibition code name lives on in the winery’s flagship wine—Black Chicken Zinfandel.

Visitors can taste Robert Biale Vineyards’ heritage Zinfandel and Petit Sirah on the winery’s back porch. Relax with a glass of wine and view the vineyards and surrounding foothills under the open sky during summer in San Francisco.

Corley Family Napa Valley Monticello Vineyards, Napa

Get the presidential treatment at Corley Family Napa Valley Monticello Vineyards. The winery estate house took inspiration from Monticello, President Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia home. Its classical red-brick and white-columned exterior heads a hedged rose garden and offers a regal respite for wine-sipping guests. Estate tastings present five wines, including Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Jay Corley established the winery in 1970 to focus on making exceptional wines. From the grapes of its five vineyards, the winery has created many top-scoring wines. Monticello Vineyards values making guests feel like family and sharing enriching and distinctive wines.

Stags’ Leap, Napa

No list of the best wineries in Napa Valley would be complete without including one of California’s oldest wine estates, Stags’ Leap vineyards surrounds a fanciful Victorian-era manor house. Constructed from local stone, the English castle house’s trendy, turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts interior is a beautiful setting for wine tastings and tours. Celebrating a recent 125th anniversary, the winery upholds the importance of being stewards of the land for future generations.

Visitors can choose from several tasting experiences to get familiar with Stags’ Leap wines—we suggest trying the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. The Tour & Tasting Experience is perfect for those who want to learn about the property and the wines it cultivates. Or try a relaxed tasting on the historic manor’s porch with views of the gardens and vineyards.

Stags’ Leap is especially famous for its Petit Sirah wine. Photo credit: Kduck94558
Photo of author
About the author

Eva Barrows is a San Francisco Peninsula freelance writer and book editor. She writes for regional magazines PUNCH (The Spirit of the Peninsula) and Edible Silicon Valley and contributes to the Kampgrounds of America (KOA) blog. She visits San Francisco and its restaurants on weekends when she needs an adventure. Read more of her travel and food writing at

More by Eva Barrows

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Sign up to get curated travel tips, inspiration, and travel deals by joining our community of Walkers.